Friday, October 3, 2008

Book Review – The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield

The Faith of Barack Obama is not about "converting" anyone from one political party to another. It's more a biography of Barack Obama and an interesting read. Dispelling some of the myths surrounding Barack Obama, it replaces those myths with actuality. It provides background as to who Obama is, his values and beliefs, how he might be as a leader, and what has actually come into making him who he is today.

I have read elsewhere that the author, Stephen Mansfield, is not an Obama supporter, and his preference for a more conservative viewpoint comes through in some instances. However, he has done a good job overall in remaining objective, and I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about this potential President.

The book describes the various non-Christian and Christian influences on Barack, including the known controversial influences of his atheist mother, Muslim stepfather, and the black liberation theologian Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr of the Trinity United Church of Christ. But it goes further to explain how these influences have contributed to Barack's ideology. At one point, the author describes Barack as "unapologetically Christian" as well as "unapologetically liberal," and much of the text describes these two characteristics coming together in an historic American movement of faith-based politics to the Religious Left.

In the chapter entitled "Four Faces of Faith," Stephen Mansfield contends that the 2008 political arena is dominated with religious forces, including in addition to Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush. The chapter offers a brief background of the faith of each of these political personalities and helps the reader to understand their driving forces. While I felt this chapter long and questioned the reason for devoting that much of the book to discussion other than Barack, I quickly saw the value in that it gives the reader a basis on which to compare the various individuals.

To me, The Faith of Barack Obama describes Barack as a Presidential candidate that offers hope and sincerity. Hope for a unified nation, an end to racism and poverty, and ethical and accountable leadership.

4 comments:

Sue said...

Sounds like an interesting book. People should learn as much as they can about the candidates. I have just been reading magazine articles on Obama's books. But would like to read one of his autobiographies at some point.

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Thanks for leaving the comment Sue! I agree that people should learn as much as they can about the candidates and I wouldn't mind reading one of Barack's autobiographies either. Tonight I hope to watch the last Presidential debate. It's been an interesting race.

Diana Tan said...

Barack Obama is the undisputed leader and likely to be the future president of USA. He has beaten Hillary in the Democratic race for the nomination and I hope US will get her first black US president that is unprecedented in history.

Diana @ http://www.DianaTan.net

Sheryl Tuttle said...

Diana, Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I am with you on this one, but I'm afraid to feel too comfortable with Barack Obama's current lead in the polls. In 2004, John Kerry led in all the polls, up until just a few weeks before the election and he ended up losing to President Bush. I don't know your views, but I'm praying daily for this election that God's will be done (there is a great website for this at https://secure2.convio.net/ppt/site/SPageServer?pagename=ppt_homepage).

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